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So I feel kind of stupid having to ask this but tomorrow I have a phone interview with a good company. Phone interviews themselves not a big deal for me, but having to tell them my salary expectations is. The position that I'm applying for is a mid-level software engineer, I fit all of the requirements (I'm not overly qualified by any means), and I want to be sure I'm not asking for an amount that would be absurd or too little.

Now, assuming I get a second interview and have to complete some sort of puzzle/code/work, they may pay me +/- whatever I asked for based upon their evaluation of my work. What I'd like to know, is what is a good amount to ask for? Or am I completely wrong with my assumptions? Either way some advice would be much appreciated!

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closed as off topic by Robert Harvey, gnat, ChrisF Nov 2 '12 at 8:38

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There are a number of salary survey websites that you can plug your experience and location into, and they will tell you what the going rate is. –  Robert Harvey Nov 2 '12 at 3:55
OT as per the FAQs, (this site is not about career advice, salary or compensation) –  Andrew Nov 2 '12 at 6:20

2 Answers 2

I've struggled over this before. In the end, I think the best advice I got was; ask for whatever it is you would be happy to accept. If they offer you less than you're happy with, then that might be cause to walk away. If they accept (or perhaps nudge it a little higher), then great, because you're happy with what you asked for. Don't worry what others are on, or that you could have somehow gotten more. Settle only for what it is worth to you to do the work.

[Or, ask for a bit more, and if they don't like it, then negotiate down. Perhaps you can include a request for a salary review after 6 months or so. :-)]

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Try not naming a figure if there is any way to avoid it. At the very least, try to not name the figure first.

The "it's negotiable" answer often gets you off the hook, especially in a phone interview. If you are being pressed for a number, give them a range. Check this company and their competition on salary survey sites, and get a feel for the pay levels at the position for which you are applying. Make sure that the lowest end of the range represents a number that is comfortable for you, because the most employers tend to pay more attention to the low end than to the high end.

If they ask you how much you are making currently, make sure to mention your total compensation, including bonuses and so on.

If they ask you for a pay stub or a phone number to confirm your salary with your prior employers, the best thing to do is to politely thank them for their time, and leave: it is rather unlikely that working for an employer who distrusts its employees from the very beginning would turn into a pleasant experience.

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Never give a range. They will always take the lowest number. –  Florian Margaine Nov 2 '12 at 16:26
And trust is gained, not given. Asking for references is pretty common. (ie previous employera) –  Florian Margaine Nov 2 '12 at 16:28
@FlorianMargaine Asking for references is common indeed, but it is not at all the same thing as asking for a number at the HR department to verify your salary. –  dasblinkenlight Nov 2 '12 at 17:18

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